Just a preface to say that autumn has finally decided to show up after an overly extended summer. I love looking up at the foothills here and seeing the golden trees reflecting the early morning sunrise. It has nothing to do with music, but I wanted to share.
As I am finishing up my Masters degree this semester, I am finding that I need occasional distractions so I don’t completely burn out on it. One distraction that has quickly taken hold thanks to the Internet is watching the X Factor as it unfolds over in the UK. In case you’re wondering, my money is on a Matt/Mary/Cher finale, although I think Aiden has a chance at upending Matt depending on how the two of them develop. Anyway, on the first live broadcast, Simon berated Louis for picking “One Sweet Day” for a contestant, saying that it only went to #1 in New Zealand. Louis rightfully came back and said it was #1 in the US, but Simon debated that fact. For the record, “One Sweet Day”, which was released by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men in 1995, was not only the biggest song of 1995-96, but remains the biggest pop record in the history of the US pop charts. “One” stayed at #1 for 16 amazing weeks, a record which remains to this day.
I’m a chart geek…that’s one of several crosses I bear in this life, and I do so willingly. A small piece of me dies when a man as ingrained in the music business as Simon Cowell biffs something that major, especially since he is seen as an expert on the pop environment in the US as well as in the UK. I start ranting at the TV or computer screen, and then my better half is left to either talk me down or leave the room. However, I was already primed to rant, as earlier in the day I watched VH1’s 100 Biggest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s.
Besides the fact that there was no rhyme or reason to the list, my brain slowly started to boil over as I heard one inaccurate description after another. First off, while Josie Cotton’s “Johnny Are You Queer” became a cult classic, it was never a hit. Didn’t happen. No way, no how. Now, some fan of Josie Cotton can add the distinction that she was the 81st most successful one-hit wonder of the 80s to her Wikipedia page simply because VH1 said so. The biggest oversight, however, came with General Public. Technically, they were a one-hit wonder in the 80s in the US, because “Tenderness” was the only single to make any significant impact. However, the narrator said that they never had another hit, and ended up breaking up. FALSE! They actually had a bigger hit in the 90s by remaking the Staples Singers’ classic “I’ll Take You There”, which got all the way to #22 after being included on the soundtrack to the movie Threesome.
So what’s the moral of this story? Well, first, don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia and hear on VH1. More importantly, don’t say on live TV something that’s blatantly false. Even if the politicians do it all the time, let’s pretend that someone in the audience might know the answer.